Solid: Manickam, Grasp.Ashwin, Suruli, Prasanna, Kumar
Seththumaan, director Thamizh’s debut movie, begins slowly and nearly cautiously, an animated prologue warming us up for the violent realities of its world. As soon as into the movie, we see greener pastures. We meet an previous man, Poochiyappan (Manickam), a basket-maker, strolling his younger grandson, Kumaresan (Ashwin Shiva), to his first day in school.
From proper right here, writers Perumal Murugan (story-dialogue) and Thamizh (screenplay) start displaying us the lives of the folks of their world with nice readability and element. Kumaresan is mocked in class for consuming “all types of meat,” an concept he doesn’t comprehend. Poochiyappan is exploited by the owner’s spouse, making him do unpaid work and undercutting the value for his baskets. Pigsty proprietor Rangan is the fiery revolutionary, who fights for respect and equality, which nearly feels futile. Kandhayi is Poochiyappan’s buddy and typically Kumaresan’s babysitter.
The interactions between these individuals are intimate, whereas additionally being laced with political instinct that may solely come from lived expertise. Perumal Murugan and Thamizh pack each scene with complicated political concepts round untouchability, discrimination, entry to training, casteism, and even capitalism with the lighthandedness of somebody who navigates it each day. As an example, at a tea store, Rangan fights for his proper to be served tea in the identical cup as higher caste prospects. Poochiyappan rejects the concept, “I’m questioning if I ought to drink from the identical glass they did,” he says. And walks away nonchalantly again to his work.
Pratheep Kaliraja’s handheld camerawork lends a way of volatility and actuality to Seththumaan, identical to the dialogues, which typically really feel uncinematic to these of us whose minds are full of punchlines and references. Bindu Malini is tender together with her music, solely a couple of times breaking character to underline the absurdness of individuals’s behaviour. The place Bindu Malini is restrained, sound designer Anthony BJ Ruben is beneficiant with atmospheric sounds — birds, wind, cracking of fireplace, and so forth, periodically highlighting the deafening silence of indifference that fills the environment the movie captures.
Essentially the most outstanding factor about Seththumaan, nevertheless, is the stoicism with which the movie captures stomach-churning realities. The oppressed aren’t struggling discrimination silently, they demand their rights typically. But, the oppression is omnipresent. We are able to think about how tiring it will be to struggle each micro- and macro-aggression one is made to endure. Even amongst themselves, the characters talk about casteist homicide with solely a light sense of melancholy. The movie is dated by the radio commentary round India’s President Ram Nath Kovind taking workplace, lest you think about this to be occurring within the distant previous.
The third act, which is basically the story of the titular Seththumaan, which accurately means pig, is intricate, but measured. Like the remainder of the movie, it’s sluggish, elaborate, and intentionally reasonable. It builds up with barely a tinge of friction at every step, so the ending, even when anticipated, is each surprising and heart-wrenching. The aftermath is much more soul-crushing, for its matter-of-fact-ly remedy — the lengthy shot of the owner and his cousin fleeing the scene is one that may hang-out our recollections for a very long time to come back.
This stoicism is Seththumaan’s energy. Thamizh retains the timbre of a brief story, craftily accentuating it with visible and aural layers that deliver it to life with out dramatising for impact.